State Briefs 2/18/09

Vince Gill to play Peoria

PEORIA – Vince Gill will perform at the Peoria Civic Center Theater on May 21.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $40, $45, $55 and $70 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. They are available at the Peoria Civic Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (309) 676-8700 and online at

Gill has recorded more than 20 studio albums, charted more than 40 singles on the U.S. Billboard charts as Hot Country Songs, and has sold more than 22 million albums. His hits include "Take Your Memory With You," "I Still Believe in You" and "One More Last Chance."

Peoria Journal Star

Rockford council approves solar panel factory development

ROCKFORD – The Rockford City Council approved a development for a solar panel manufacturer in a unanimous vote Tuesday.

Wanxiang Group, a Chinese solar-panel manufacturer, will bring about 200 jobs to Rockford. The photovoltaic solar-panel facility would be located at the city’s Logistics Park near Chicago Rockford International Airport. Wanxiang (pronounced Wang-chung) is China’s second-largest privately held company, with revenues in the billions of dollars annually. Its Wanxiang America subsidiary had $1 billion in sales last year.

Wanxiang, also the largest auto parts manufacturer in China, will pay its employees $40,000 to $70,000 a year plus benefits. The company hopes to fill most positions locally.

The 160,000-square-foot Wanxiang plant will be designed by local architects and engineers and built by local trades.

Winnebago County and Greater Rockford Airport Authority officials also need to approve their parts in the deal.

Rockford Register Star

School officials investigating threatening note

NORMAL – Officials at Normal West High School say an anonymous written threat against the school was discovered Tuesday night.

In a letter to parents, Principal Tom Eder said the threat indicated damage would be done to the school on Friday.

“Unit 5 takes threats seriously, and additional security measures and procedures will be implemented to keep Normal West High School secure,” Eder’s letter states. “We are working closely with the Normal Police Department to identify the person responsible for the threat.

Students will be allowed to enter or exit certain doors, and any students kept home Friday will be excused as long as a parent calls in to the school, Eder stated.

“School, as well as all activities will continue, as planned,” he wrote. “We, along with the Normal Police Department, will continue our investigation; however, if the situation changes, we will inform you. Our number one priority is providing a safe learning environment for our students.”

Peoria Journal Star

Woman charged with battering daughter with can of beer

SPRINGFIELD – A Springfield woman was arrested Monday afternoon on charges she hit her adult daughter in the face with an unopened can of beer.

Mary A. Hawkins, 45, was taken to the Sangamon County Jail. The incident happened about 3:30 p.m. at the daughter’s home.

The 24-year-old victim told police her mother had showed up at her home drunk and upset and began yelling at her. The daughter was standing in the living room when Hawkins walked up and hit her in the left eye with the can of beer, causing the eye to swell shut, police said.

Hawkins reportedly told police her daughter pushed her and she “was not going to let her put her hands on me.”

The daughter refused medical attention.

State Journal-Register